Much has been written about the ego and much will continue to be written about the ego. This is simply because the human ego is so fascinating. We (EZ Awakenings) made an inspirational documentary about the ego and what we discovered during the course of our interviews was that many people, when asked in depth, have very different ideas about what it is. Check out this infographic by MaryEllen Tribby, for instance.
“The Success Indicator” by MaryEllen Tribby
This image primarily talks about "successful" vs "unsuccessful". And, while I cannot agree that these are the elements that makes or breaks someone along their journey towards dream manifestation, I will say that it definitely highlights the attributes of the human ego. The elements on the right (yellow section) demonstrate all of the qualities of what we may consider an "egotistical" individual. Why is that? To answer this question we must ask what is the ego?
Human beings, much like our primitive animal counterparts, have developed safety/protective mechanisms within the mind that are systematic by nature to steer us away from known threats and maximize our potential for perceived success, gene proliferation, and so on. We all have these qualities built by default within our system. Someone who is "egotistic" is an individual who is trapped and wrapped within these drives, whereas a "successful" person, as the inforgraph points out, is an individual who can operate life with the ego but maintain the clarity of mind as to not allow those primitive drives to be at the driver's wheel, at least not during the majority of the day.
Here are some interesting quotes about the ego:
When ego is lost, limit is lost. You become infinite, kind, beautiful.
-Harbhajan Singh Yogi
If you want to improve, you must be content to be thought foolish and stupid.
We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.
Receive without pride, let go without attachment.
Let us be more simple and less vain.
The biggest challenge after success is shutting up about it.
On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.
-Michel de Montaigne
Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.
-St. Vincent de Paul
Silence is the respite of the confident and strong.
A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called ‘Ego’.
The ego seeks to divide and separate. Spirit seeks to unify and heal.
Humility is born of the spirit, humiliation of the ego.
The Ego’s job is to kill everything but itself.
The only way to escape the corruptible effect of praise is to go on working.